If you’re lucky enough to find the secret door, knock three times, and pipe up with the password, there’s a new speakeasy in town. The drinks are on the house, and the vibe is anything you want it to be. The dress code and cocktail menu can change at a moment’s notice, but that’s at your discretion, too.
This nameless hideway is inside a new Compass listing at 1356 Barth Ave., listed at $599,900. The lower-level lounge is an ultra-cool feature on its own, but it’s the unexpected, masterfully hidden entrance that really sets it apart. Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, we’ll bet Humphrey Bogart never saw one with a clever opening like this.
Just inside the bungalow’s cheery yellow front door sits an equally bright, open-concept living room and kitchen. Dark, moody cabinetry paired with concrete countertops gives the kitchen some edge, but it’s the enormous island with a gleaming, reclaimed-wood top that steals the show. The countertop slides away to reveal the steps the basement speakeasy.
As you move throughout the kitchen, the island is quite convincing—its clever design ensures that nothing appears out of place or even hints that a secret stairway lies below it. There’s shelving built in along the stairs that helps mitigate the loss of storage in the island itself. At the foot of the stairs, there’s a floor-to-ceiling wine rack (or whatever libations you prefer), and nestled behind it is the perfect spot for a couple of cocktail tables and chairs.
Listing agent Jason Hess says that he’s never seen anything else like it, and marvels at the amount of space in the basement—a rarity for homes in Fountain Square. Though the current owner didn’t design the island/speakeasy combo—it was part of the house when he bought it—he uses it often as it offers a cool space to mix up the vibe of gatherings with friends and family.
The basement’s low ceilings and exposed brick and joists fully embrace the hush-hush speakeasy aesthetic. That’s the only area in the house that even hints at its age. Built in 1885—that’s 35 years before Prohibition—the 2,800-square-foot home has been completely remodeled and has three bedrooms, three bathrooms, and a four-car garage. It’s close to all the delights of downtown, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find another bar where you can listen to jazz and sip craft cocktails while wearing your fuzzy slippers.